The anti-aging industry is based off a novelty, a novelty that I think consumers need to be aware of. To put it plainly: society convinces us that we need to look younger (we don’t) and companies profit off our insecurities. Companies are constantly looking for new ideas to ‘reverse aging’, and I think we need to realise that this isn’t possible…
When I was younger, all I wanted to be was a grown up; now I’m an adult, I’ve realised I was kidding myself. Instilled into society is a need to look younger. The fashion and beauty industry force a desire to look young and radiant. By doing this, they convince the older generation that they are unworthy of enjoying youthful and vibrant clothing, because their age doesn’t fit the mould.
Anti-aging or anti-age?
Even the term ‘anti-aging’ suggests a negative outlook, creating a fear of aging from the get-go. No wonder the global anti-aging market was worth around $50.2 billion in 2018, and this figure is expected to be even bigger in 2020.
Every aspect of our society focuses on being more beautiful and radiant, and anti-aging advertisements never fail to remind us:
- Achieve visibly younger looking skin!
- Reduce the appearance of wrinkles!
- 60-year-old mum looks 35!
All of these advertisements make promises they can’t keep, as most dermatologists do not promote or endorse the use of anti-aging products. When researching the market, a common search that came up was ‘anti-aging products that work’. It is true that moisturising creams make the skin look healthier, but isn’t that all they do? Note how the headlines state ‘reduce the appearance’ of x, y and z, as they can’t make the promise that their products will get rid of wrinkles all together.
By a cream simply being a part of the anti-aging market, the industry creates a false narrative and convinces the older generation that they need to buy their overpriced products.
An overpriced promise
I took a look into the products on offer in the anti-aging market, and no wonder it is a billion dollar market! Estée Lauder’s Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Cell Power Crème promises younger looker skin (I think I aged just from reading the title of it!). For a RRP of £72, I expect it to work miracles…
Estée Lauder claims that their cream ‘helps unlock your skin’s youthful looking potential’ and it will see your ‘skin bounce back with new bounce and radiant vitality’. The idea of bouncing back to your older selves’ skin is bizarre to me, isn’t the whole point of life to embrace our age as the years go by? The beauty and fashion industry instil the very opposite idea of this.
The hypocrisy of the anti-aging industry
You might be wondering how fashion goes hand in hand with the anti-aging market, and the answer is the two are very linked; without the anti-aging market, fashion brands would have no one to market their young and fresh garments to.
The Guardian reports that the average catwalk model is 18 years old. Now, there’s no denying that the fashion industry needs more diversity in the best of times, and I think you can imagine that the older generation feel isolated from the youth-orientated beauty industry.
In short, the fashion industry are telling us that, in order to enjoy the fashion they have on offer, we have to invest in the over-priced anti-aging products that promise youthfulness and revitalisation. I don’t know about you, but I’m very aware of the hypocrisy of the fashion industry with regards to age.
Anti-aging has an agenda
Let’s not forget the programmes we consume that promote the idea of anti-aging. Ten Years Younger made a comeback in 2020, promoting the outdated ‘looking good and feeling good’ mantra. But fashion and age in 2020 goes beyond this, it’s all about feel comfortable in your own skin, without having people judge your looks and determine your age on the street (yes, this really happened on Ten Years Younger…).
As I’ve said, anti-aging isn’t exactly the most positive industry. It profits from our imperfections, and thus instils the idea that aging is unnatural. Actually, it’s the most natural thing of life; I think it’s time for the anti-aging industry to catch up on embracing and celebrating our age, don’t you?